An Arizona man said he stabbed a 17-year-old to death because the teenager’s rap music made him feel “unsafe,” according to police.
What We Know:
- Michael Paul Adams, 27, admitted to attacking Elijah Al-Amin, slitting his throat and stabbing him in the back inside of a convenience store in Peoria, Arizona, last Thursday. Shortly after the incident, police arrested Adams near the store. A July 5 report from the Arizona Republic said Adams attacked Al-Amin because he “felt threatened by the music” the teenager was playing in his car.
- “Adams told police rap music makes him feel ‘unsafe’ because he had been attacked by people who listen to rap music in the past,” the outlet reported, citing police records filed in a local court. “He also said people who listen to rap music are a threat to him and the community.” Adams was charged with first-degree murder and is being held on a $1 million bond.
- The case sparked outrage among Al-Amin’s family and the general public, who argued that listening to rap music should not have cost the teen his life. The hashtag
#JusticeForElijah trended on Monday as users shared his story and called for Adams to be convicted.
- Critics of the case are also angered by Adams’ attorney’s claim that the attack was not racially motivated, but instead, due to Adams’ untreated mental health issues. Adams had just been released from the Arizona State Prison Complex on Tuesday and was not given medication or support upon his release, lawyer Jacie Cotterell said. A spokesman for the Arizona Department of Corrections countered that argument and claimed Adams “was not designated seriously mentally ill” when he was released.
- Al-Amin’s family believe Elijah was a victim of a hate crime and the mental illness argument is being used to minimize the attack on Elijah. Similarly, 17-year-old Jordan Davis was fatally shot in 2012 after a white man fired into the car. The man had previously argued with Davis and his friends over their music, claiming it was too loud.
Adams is scheduled to appear in court July 15.
When criminals and their attorneys use mental health as an excuse for racism / extremism, the stigma grows. So thank you for ruining it for all of us who actually need help. #JusticeForElijah
— Scott Dance (@sdancefilms) July 8, 2019